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Write presentations

Have you ever wondered how to write a presentation?

I’m not talking about your obligatory reviewing-the-numbers or previewing-the-game-plan decks where you may be able to get away with a set of snoozer slides. I’m talking about the presentation that stands on its own as a piece of clickass content created to inform and entertain your audience.

In large part, I’m talking about SlideShare, that is LinkedIn SlideShare, one of the world’s premier content communities. And by talking about SlideShare, I mean to also include the idea of expanding your digital footprint with modern visual marketing. See, the content you publish on SlideShare can be embedded all over the place. If it’s great, it will be.

You may have read content from me about SlideShare in the past.

I like SlideShare. It likes me. I’m happy to tell you I’ve been dubbed a “Keynote Author” there thanks to my steady stream of presentations and infographics. Thanks to the appointment, my posts often land on the highly trafficked SlideShare home page, pick up a nice boost from their social media efforts and then often get viewed tens of thousands of times.

You’ll find my entire, ever-expanding heap of SlideShare content here. 

And now for a lesson on writing presentations

I put a lot of thought into this lesson because I was asked to present it as a live webinar as part of the free Virtual SlideShare Summit.

You can join me for this presentation Tuesday, March 22, 9:00 a.m. Eastern. REGISTER HERE.

The slides I’ll present are below. I’ll also introduce you to the “Slides that Sell” course by presentation master Eugene Cheng and offer you a large discount.

Here’s the presentation as a PDF if you’d like a copy to stash somewhere handy:
Write Clickass Presentations

The slides read:

Who, What & Why

Who do you think you’re talking to?  Can you describe your reader in detail? You need to know what keeps him or her up at night.

Success = ? Establish an objective. What will your measure of success be?

Develop your value proposition. Be ready to answer why, why, why. Articulate precisely how you can deliver life-changing value.

Research & Preparation

Create a list of questions. Give your research a sense of purpose. Make a list of items you need to know more about.

Do research in the real world. Listen, read, watch, observe. Take advantage of the greatest market research tool ever: social media.

Tune into experts. Who knows the turf best? Pick their brains. Take notes. Make connections.

Make a list. Outlines will help. List the primary and secondary points you want to cover.

Prioritize. Order your messages. Musts. Details. Background material.

Title or Headline

Write an irresistible headline. Uncover the benefit.
How to __________________. (Fill in the blank.)

9 Unforgettable Tips for Writing Headlines that Work

Writing Your Deck

Be perfectly clear. What led your audience to your presentation? Connect the “before” to the “now.” Don’t let cleverness trump clarity.

Open with empathy. Show readers you get them from the get-go. Visualize the reader’s head nodding.

Stay focused on the reader. Your reader isn’t just who you’re talking to. He or she is who you’re talking about.

Don’t assume they know what you do. Remember you’re the expert; not the reader. Great teachers simplify stuff.

Overcome objections. Anticipate the “Yes, but…” response. Speak to each of these.

Include personal stories. People like to read about people. Give them characters to relate to.

Use stats and facts. Enhance your argument with objective data. Find credible sources and cite them.

Offer examples. Examples add substance and cred to your story. They make it more interesting too.


Write in first and second person. “You” and “your” are powerful words. Generic labels and company names are not.

Invoke emotions. Decisions are based on emotions. Touch them.

Write concisely. Slides should be easy to consume. Keep them brief. Aim for a singular idea.

Activate your copy. Verbs give your pitch power. Adjectives often interfere.

Have fun. Your copy stops working when it feels like work. Have fun with your copy and it’ll be fun to read.

Use humor. Lighten up. You don’t need to be a comedian. Be yourself.

Declutter. Edit ruthlessly. Find the fat and chop it.


Deliver a reason to respond now. You’re seldom going to transform a reader’s beliefs. Your real goal is to get them to act now.

Offer exclusivity. Inspire greater desire. Make your offer exclusive or limited.

Call for action. Tell the reader what to do next. Be specific.

Remove risk. When you can remove risk, do it. When you can’t, reduce it.

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